The U.S. Department of Transportation approved the proposed trans-Pacific joint venture between Delta Air Lines and Korean Air on Tuesday, clearing the way for the two carriers to combine their flight networks to serve more than 290 American and 80 Asian destinations.
The two carriers will now look to earn approval from South Korea’s transport ministry before making the expanded partnership official.
The agreement means that the airlines will expand codeshare flights on trans-Pacific routes and share costs and revenues on flights within their partnership. Both will be able to sell more seats on the other’s flights.
It also means that customers of both airlines will be able to earn and redeem miles on both Delta’s SkyMiles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS frequent flyer programs.
“We thank the DOT for approving this world-class partnership, which will create more choices, frequencies and destinations for customers traveling between the key markets in the U.S. and Asia,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.
In preparation for the expanded partnership, Delta last year announced new nonstop service between its Atlanta hub and Seoul, South Korea. That flight complements the already 10 gateways in the U.S. that Korean Air operates and the three Seoul gateways, and nonstop service to six other Asian gateways that Delta operates.